Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snow, Taco Soup, and a Sinking Feeling

We've had some interesting weather here lately and more than our fair share of snow days (with and without snow)... Maybe we should call them Ice Days.

The most recent snow day was right before Valentine's Day, just like Last Year

It wasn't nearly as thick or as wonderful as last year's snow, but it was still beautiful.


Wesley tried to play in it, but declared it was "too shallow to even make a snowball" and came back in for hot cocoa instead.

Last Friday, I realized there was really only one way to warm up in such cold weather...

A big ole pot of soup ought to do the trick!

And what better soup is there than Paula Deen's Taco Soup?

It's what I'd call a Can Can Recipe. It calls for a can of this and a can of that... but, surprisingly, not one single stick of butter! The Dr. Pepper in the photo is an optional side, but not required for the recipe ;)


I browned the beef, dumped in all the cans, added my homemade taco seasoning and simmered away...

Ok, so it's not very pretty to look at, but the kitchen smelled divine by the time Brad came home!

When it finally came time to EAT the soup it was as delicious as I had hoped...

But what would my toughest critic think?

Oh well.

At least Brad and I were happy.

After dinner it was time to clean up. Then came something that made us all UNhappy.

I had drained the meat after I browned it just like I had done hundreds of times before...

Only THIS time, the drain got clogged. No big deal, right? Sweet Brad came to the rescue... But it wasn't a quick fix. He had to work under the sink which meant moving all our cleaning supplies out of the way. When the cabinet was cleared out, he discovered a leak had been going on for quite some time and part of the wood was actually rotting!

After a little trial and error the leak was traced back to our sprayer nozzle. So, Saturday afternoon we headed to Lowe's in search of a replacement. I thought we'd go, pick out a pretty new faucet set and be done with the problem.

Boy, was I mistaken!

First of all, the sink we had at home had 4 holes, but all the sets we liked needed fewer holes... SO we checked out a new sink. Despite the new styles of faucets, it seemed like the sink selections still came with 4 holes... So we went back and forth looking at faucets and sinks. Frustratingly enough, those two items AREN'T on the same aisle. Finally, we found a lovely Delta faucet that we both loved ... We went to pick out a sink only to find that none of the stainless options came with the right amount of holes... oh, and our faucet was out of stock. ug! So, starting the process over... We looked for a new faucet... and a new sink... and then back at the faucets.... 45 minutes must have passed when (finally) Brad found a winning combo! It was a sink and faucet set. Perfect! We loaded up in the car and headed home! (Wesley was at a birthday party, thank goodness, or he probably would have gone nuts at Lowe's!)

Back at home, it was like Christmas :) We opened all the million and one tiny plastic baggies full of parts and hoses, etc. Brad meticulously read the instructions and pieced together shiny new pipes under the sink.

I cleared the way for work space in the kitchen. By this point, dirty dishes are piling up with no way to clean them. The dishwasher was fully loaded and ready to go on Friday only to be unhooked when the leak was discovered....

Somewhere along the way it was discovered that a new part.. or connector? was needed for the disposal.

That was another trip into "town." Actually, this ended up taking two trips and we wound up with *surprise* a new garbage disposal.

Meanwhile, Saturday and Sunday, Brad works tirelessly on the new sink and faucet and getting them ready for their new home :) I even got to help apply plumber's putty all around the edge of the sink... and maybe a little in my hair for good measure.

Late Sunday night, everything is all set. The moment of truth arrives... I turn on the water while Brad scopes everything out under the counter.

And a new leak is discovered.

This time, it's coming from inside the faucet... and there's nothing we can do about it. It's a faulty faucet.

Oh, and we needed a new hose clamp in order to run the dishwasher...

Sunday night was not a good night.

Monday, Brad called Lowe's and they let him trade out the faucet without having to take the sink in, too. (Thank goodness!)

After both of us having a full day at work, we got started on our plumbing business after dinner (and that trip to Lowe's for the new faucet) Hooking everything up from the underside wasn't working so out the sink came once again... While Brad pulled hoses and connected everything, I reapplied Plumber's Putty around the perimeter...

Then it was time to put it back into place. Time for the moment of truth, again.  We turn on the water and watch for leaks. Success! Everything seems to be working this time! Sighs of relief :) Brad doesn't trust it though.. So he laid out a layer of paper towels under the counter so he'll be able to see if anything leaks. We tidied up a little and then he peaked in to check the paper towels....

And there's a leak.


THIS time, it's coming from around the left side drain. :(

Turns out, we needed to apply dope around those threads before that drain is screwed into place. So... this morning Brad headed to the hardware store before work to stock up.

And a new hose clamp was put on the dishwasher hose last night, but we STILL couldn't run the washer because of the drain's leak  :(

Tonight, we'll be fixing that leak and then I will gleefully (hopefully) wash dishes! I have never EVER looked forward to washing dishes, but after this week... after sharing a bowl with Brad and rinsing it out for the next use... I am very much looking forward to Clean Dishes!!

After ALL THAT... I have to say the new sink will be nice. I didn't say it will be "worth it" because we were perfectly content with the old sink ... But this new one sure will be nice :)

And maybe one day, the backsplash will all be one color... Oh well, one project at a time!

D Now 2011 ~ Wow!

By now you may have heard that we were a host home for D Now this year :) We had 6 eleventh grade girls plus their college-aged leader staying with us for a whole weekend and we loved every minute of it! Even Wesley enjoyed having a captive audience and when he had performed all he wanted, he disappeared across the street with his friends :)

The weekend began Friday evening...While the youth were at another church taking part in the first worship session, we brought home all their supplies and luggage...

We should have known we were in for it when all their belongings slowly took over the house...

First it was the snacks:

Then the sleeping bags and pillows and blankets and the luggage were brought in... You can already see Baylor is alarmed:

But aside from the sheer amount of STUFF it takes to house 7 girls, we didn't have a single complaint.

We let the leader girl have the guest room. We had 3 girls on Wesley's futon mattress in the office floor. Two girls took the couch and love seat / ottoman and one girl slept on the living room floor.

Friday night they were up late, but they didn't bother us one bit. In fact, Baylor was more difficult to sleep through than the Giggle Fest in the living room! He whimpered in our room all night!

Saturday morning, the breakfast fairy (aka Joann Walker from our church) arrived to make scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, grits and biscuits for the whole gang! A dozen eggs and 24 biscuits later we were stuffed and happy :) Just in time to head to the 2nd worship session.

The music portion was lead by Scott England and our girls were Instantly Mesmerized to say the least. The band was alot of fun and had some pretty powerful songs to sing. 

Then, the speaker got up and posed a series of eight questions centered on whether we are giving our whole heart to God or if there are parts we are holding back. The questions included things like "Do I have bitterness in my heart?" and then he would follow up with scripture that would explain why we ought to change that part of our heart... Then he'd move on to another question and a scriptural answer. It was really thought-provoking and if we were honest, we were answering YES to far too many of the questions :\ definitely gave us things to work on!

After that it was time for lunch and a little relaxation. The girls had a follow-up Bible study with our leader and then they watched a few movies and declared their love for Scott England, Justin Beiber... and Baylor!

All in all it was a WONDERFUL weekend and I know it's only because we had a GREAT group of young ladies! I can't wait to see how they internalize the lessons they learned and then to see how their bonds grown in the coming months! I am very thankful that my family got to be a part of the process!

Back Row L-R: Jessi, Lexi, Haley, Lauren, Kaitlin, Noel
Front Row L-R: Brad, Me, our college leader Meredith and Wesley!

Back at church on Sunday, the majority of our group sang in the worship service... I'd say it was an impressive group, wouldn't you?